Pilates reformer

The 12 Days of Fitness with Your Pilates Reformer

The holidays are here and all the festivities that go along with it, and while you’re out making merry, your fitness might be taking a backseat or a break. But there’s no reason why your Pilates workout can’t be as holly and jolly as your next holiday party. In fact, you can keep your energy levels high, keep your mood bright, and beat that holiday stress by including your Pilates reformer in your holiday planning.

You don’t have to know the words to the famous song to take part in the fitness fun with this 12-day challenge, but if you have Pilates equipment at home, you can give yourself the gift of fitness this holiday season and keep yourself from derailing the progress you’ve made throughout the year.

Pilates reformer

Building Up Your Fitness Challenge

You may see a lot of fitness challenges circulate, but this one packs in the fun and is totally versatile. In fact, you can build your own fitness challenge just by counting. You remember how that famous Christmas carol at least begins: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .”

Your fitness challenge begins the same way—with day one. For many, getting started is all it takes to solidify a routine, get back into the swing of working out, or to main the healthy habits you’ve established this year. So take a page from the famous carol and build your 12 days of fitness. Here’s how:

  • Figure out how you want your challenge to progress. Fitness is all about building. You lay a strong, stable foundation and continue to build on it. So putting together your 12 days of fitness with your Pilates reformer follows the same concept. Your challenge could be adding movements to a workout, holding each movement a bit longer, focusing more on your core, or all of the above.
  • Pick a starting point. You probably want to start small. The way you work a 12 days of fitness challenge is by repeating what you did in the previous days. So what you do on day one, you’ll repeat on day two plus something new. Then on day three, you repeat what you did on days one and two plus something new, and so on. So you can understand how you may want to start small.
  • Make it fun. The whole point of the 12 days of fitness is to have fun. You can include your whole family and any guests staying with you, or make it a challenge you do virtually with friends and family. However you decide to work it, just make it fun. If you make it an excruciating challenge, you won’t finish or reap the health benefits of staying physically active this time of year.
  • Map out exactly how you get to the end. Don’t wing it. Once you have a starting point, map out every day until you get to day 12, and then evaluate if the path is reasonable. If you plan the details, you can adjust the entire challenge to work, to be fun, to be challenging, and maybe even be a new holiday tradition.
  • Write it down. Many people who start a 12 days of fitness challenge forget to write it down their first year. Then the next year, when they want to revisit the challenge, they forget what they accomplished. Write down what you plan to do and mark it off each day. Then file it away for next year. If you do make this a new tradition, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve progressed and build even further on the challenge each year.
  • Be as basic or complicated as you like. Everyone has a different fitness level. If you’re new to Pilates and using a Pilates reformer, you might see a 12 days of fitness challenge as a way to help focus yourself on the basics. Perhaps day 1 might be focusing on your breathing throughout each move. Then day 2 is both focusing on your breathing and being mindful of engaging each muscle as you move, and so on. On the other hand, if you’re experienced with your Pilates equipment, this might be your moment to go next level with your workouts. Whatever your experience or fitness level, stay in your lane with this challenge to keep the risk of injury low but your enjoyment level high.

Pilates reformer

Building a Foundation for a Lifetime of Fitness

Regardless of your level or experience, you can start a fitness challenge right now even during the holiday season. You may think you have to wait until you’ve indulged in the rich holiday food or caught up on sleep after all the holiday parties before you can get back into working out, but using your Pilates equipment now offers a lot of benefits.

  • You give yourself a big win. First, consider that if you can work out consistently throughout the busy holiday season, you will have proven to yourself that you can work out no matter what is going on in life. With as busy as this time of year keeps us all, being able to fit in some fitness time can be a real hurdle. So if you do it fairly consistently, you’ll have established a routine habit during one of the busiest times of the year.
  • You can destress as part of your everyday routine. If physical activity has mental, emotional, and physical health benefits, no time can be much better than the holidays to stay physically active. Christmas has been shown to be the most stressful time of the year, but exercise can help to relieve stress. So if you consistently carve out time for yourself on your Pilates reformer this holiday season, you give yourself a natural way to boost and regulate your mood and relieve stress.
  • You get a better night’s rest. Face it. Everyone loses sleep around the holidays. Whether you’re staying up late to put together the toys Santa left until the last minute or partying the night away, this time of year we sacrifice sleep for a lot of enjoyable reasons. So when you do get sleep, you need quality rest. Exercising can give you that can of rest. Staying active helps your sleep and rest better so that your body gets the recharging it needs so you can take part in all the festive merry-making you want.

Now if you know you’re going to be away from your reformer often throughout the holidays but you still want to do a 12 days of fitness challenge, then you can build yourself a mobile one that you can take with you. Just remember to incorporate the following ideas into each workout:

  • A warmup: Your warmup should get both your muscles as well as your mind going. This is the time to set your muscles up for success as well as set your intentions. So get that breathing going and synch your movements with your mind before you dig into your workout.
  • A whole-body workout: Pilates works the whole body. So be sure what you put together covers you from top to bottom, literally.
  • An expansive range of motion: Sometimes it’s easy to just go halfway with a workout when you’re not working in your normal routine. So when you’re away from your reformer and streaming workout, you can fall into the trap of letting your mind wander and take you away from your workout. So stay focused on each move, being mindful of getting that full range of motion throughout each movement.
  • Modify reformer moves: Since you’re not taking your Pilates equipment to grandma’s house, be sure that you take those moves you love that challenge your body and modify them so that they work even without your equipment on hand.
  • Make sure you have variety: This is where the 12 days of fitness can come in handy. Instead of getting bored with the same routine each day or each day you’re away from your equipment, build a routine that progresses with variety. Too much routine or anticipated movement can cause your mind to wander. So use a variety or movements to keep your head in the game.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back. When you complete a workout during the busiest time of the year, you should be proud of yourself. Take time to recognize the effort you put in and bask in how great it feels to have accomplished what you just did. These feelings help to reinforce why you take time out of your busy schedule to work out in the first place.

Although the holidays can be hectic, your Pilates reformer can help you stay healthy both body and soul. Even as you feel pressed for time, take time to give yourself the gift of fitness, a gift that has lifetime benefits.

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